tv 1969 State of the Union Address CSPAN January 16, 2017 11:26am-12:18pm EST
america's prayerful and continuing aspiration. we pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied, that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full, that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings. those who have freedom will understand also its heavy responsibility, that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity and that the sources and scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made disappear from the earth. and that in the goodness of time all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love. now on friday noon i am to become a private citizen.
i am proud to do so. i look forward to it. thank you and good night. president lyndon johnson delivered his final state of the union address on january 14th, 1969, less than a week before the inauguration of his successor republican richard nixon. the speech served as his good-bye to the american people as he did not give a farewell speech. president johnson spoke as what he saw as his accomplishments including the passage of the voting rights act and the e creation of medicare, and he expressed hope that negotiations would result in peace in vietnam. our coverage of the 50-minute address comes from cbs news.
>> thankk you very much. mr. speaker, mr. president, members of the congress and my fellow americans, for the sixth and the last time i present to the congress my assessment of the state of the union. i shall speak to you tonight about challenge and opportunity and about the commitments that all of vus made together that will if we carry them out give
america our best chance to achieve the kind of a great society that we all want. every president lives not only with what is, but with what has been. and what could be. most of the events in his presidency are part of the larger sequence extending back through several years, and extend iing through several oth administrations. urban unrest. po poverty. pressure s s on welfare. education of our people. law enforcement and law and order, and the continuing crisis
in the middle east, the conflict in vietnam. the dangers of num leer war. the great difficulties of dealing with the communist power s -- all have this much in common. they and their causes, the causes that gave rise to them, all of these have existed with us for many years. several presidents have already sought to try to deal with them. and one or more presidents will try to resolve them or try to contain them in the years that are ahead of us. but if the nation's problems are continuing, so are this great nation'ss
nation's asset, the great economy, the democratic system, our sense of exploration symbolized most recently by the wonderful flight of apollo 8 in which all americans took great pride. [ applause ] and the good common sense and sound judgment of the american people and their essential love of justice. we must not ignore our problems, but neither should we ignore our strengths. those strengths are available to sustain a president of either party. to support his progressive efforts both at home, and overseas. unfortunately the departure of
the administration does not mean the end of the problems that this administration has faced. the effort to meet the problems must go on. year after year, if the momentum that we have all mounted together in these past years is not to be lost. although, the struggle for progressive change is continuous, there are times when a watershed is reached, when there is if not really a break with the past, at least the fulfillment of many of its oldest hope and a stepping forth into a new environment to seek new goals. i think that the past five years
have been such a time. we have finished a major part of the old agenda. some of the laws that we wrote have already in front of our eyes a take e e en on the flesh achievement. medicare that we were up able to pass for so many years is now a part of american life. [ applause ] voting rights and voting booths that we debated in the 1950s and the doors to public servants are open at last to all americans regardless of their color. [ applause ] schools and schoolchildren all
over america tonight are receiving federals assistance t go to good schools. [ applause ] and preschool education, head start is already here to stay. [ applause ] and i think so are the federal programs that tonight are keeping more than 1.5 million of our cream of our young people in the colleges and universities of this country. [ applause ] part of the american earth and not only in the description on a map, but in the reality of our shores and our hills and our parks and our forests and the
mountains has been permanently set aside for the american public. and for their benefit. [ applause ] and there's more to be set aside before this administration ends. [ applause ] 5 million americans have been trained for jobs in new federal programs. and i think that it is most important that we all realize tonight that this nation is close to full employment with less employment than we have hadt at any time in almost 20 years.had at any time in almost 20 years. [ applause ] and that is not in theory, but in fact.
tonight, the unemployment rate is down to 3.3%. the number of jobs has grown more than 8.5 million in the last five years. that is more -- [ applause ] that is more than in all of the preceding 12 years. these achievements completed the full cycle from idea to enactment. and finally, to a place in the lives of citizens all across this country. i wish it were possible to say that everything that this congress and the administration achieved during this period had already completed the cycle, but a great deal of what we have committed needs additional funding to become a tangible realization.
and yet, the very existence of these commitments, these promises to the american people made by this congress and by the executive branch of the government are achievements in themselves, and failure to carry through on the commitment would be a tragedy for this nation. this much is certain, no one man or group of man made these commitments alone. congress and the executive branch with the checks and balances reason together and finally wrote them into the law of the land. they now have all of the moral force that the american political system can summons when it acts as one. they expressed american common determination to achieve goals.
they imply action and in most cases, you have already begun that action. but not fully completed of course. let me speak for a moment about these commitments, and i'm going to the speak in the language that the congress, itself, spoke when they passed these h measures. i am going the quote from your words. in 1966, congress declared that the improving the quality of urban life is the most critical domestic problem facing the united states. two years later, it affirmed the historic goal of a decent home for every american family, and that is your language. and now, to meet these commitments, we must increase our support for the model cities' program where the change is already being prepared for
more than 150 american citizen, and to achieve the goals of the housing act of 1958 that you just passed, we should begin this year more than 500,000 homes for needy families in the coming fisle cal year and funds are provided for the new budget to do just this. [ applause ] and this is almost ten times, ten times the average rate of the past ten years. our cities and our towns are being pressed for funds to meet the needs of the growing populations. so i believe an urban development bank should be created by the congress. this bank could obtain the resources through the issuance of taxable bonds, and it could then lend these resources at reduced rates to the communities
throughout the land for schools and hospitals and parks and other public facilities. since we enacted the social security act in 1935, congress has recognized the necessity to make more adequate provision for age persons, and maternal and child welfare and public health. and this is the word of the congress, and more adequate in the time has come to make it more adequate. i believe that we should increase social security benefits, and i am so recommending that. suggesting that there should be an overall increase in benefits of 15%, and those who receive only the minimum of $55 should get $80 a month.
our nation, too, is rightfully proud of the medical advancements, but we should remember that our country ranks 15th among the nations in the world in the infant mortality rate. i think tha we should assure decent medical care for every expectant mother and their children for the first year of their life in the united states of america. we should protect our children and the families from the cost of catastrophic illness. and as we pass on from medicine, i think that nothing is clearer to the congress than the commitment that the congress made to end poverty.
congress expressed it too well i believe in 1964 when they said that it is the policy of the united states to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation. this is the richest nation in the world. the anti-poverty program has had many achievements and also has some failures. but we must not cripple it after three years of trying to solve the human problems that have been with us and building up among us for generations. i believe that the congress this year will want to improve the administration's poverty program by issuinging it to other administrations, and we should continue to do so until we have broken the back of poverty
throughout this land. i believe, and i hope that the next administration, i hope that they believe is that the key to success in this evident is jobs. it is work for the people who want to work. and the budget for fiscal 1970, i shall recommend a total of $3,500 million for the job training program. and that is five times as much as we spent in 1964 trying to prepare americans whether they can work to earn their own living. the nation's commitment in the field of civil rights began with the declaration of independence, and extended by the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment and p powerfully streng themmed with the enactment of three far reaching civil rights law within
the last five year s ths that t congress and its wisdom passed n. january of this year, the fair housing act of 1968 covered over 20 million american homes and apartmentments. the prohibition against racial discan krim nation -- discrimination in that act should be rbed and vigorously enforced throughout this land. i also belief we should extend the vital provisions of the voting rights act for another five years. and then the safe streets act of 1968, congress determined to assist state and local governments in reducing the incidence of crime.
this year, i am proposing that congress provide the full $300 million that the congress last year authorized to do just that. and i hope that the congress will put the money where the authorization is. i believe this is an essential contribution to justice and the public order in the united states. i hope that these grants can be made to the states, and they can be be used effectively to reduce the crime rate in this country. but all of this is a small part of the effort that must be made chief ly ly by the local governs throughout the nation. and if we expect to reduce the toll of crime that we have all
passed. one of our greatest disappointments is the failure to secure license and registration act of a firearm. for firearms. [ applause ] i think if we had passed that act, it would have reduced the incidence of crime. and i believe that the congress should adopt such a law. and i hope that it will at a not too distant date. [ applause ] in order to meet our long standing commitment to make government as efficient as possible, i believe that we should reorganize our postal system along the lines of the capitol report. [ applause ]
i hope we can all agree that public service should never impose an unreasonable financial sacrifice on able men and women who want to serve their country. so i believe that the recommendations of the commission on executive, legislative and judicial salary are generally sound. [ applause ] later this week, i shall submit a special message which i reviewed with the leadership this evening containing a proposal that has been reduced and has modified the commission's recommendation to some extent on the congressional salaries. for members of congress, i will recommend a basic compensation not of the $50,000 unanimously recommended by the capitol
commission and the other distinguished members, but i shall reduce that $50,000 to $42,500. [ applause ] and i will suggest that congress appropriate a very small additional allowance for official expenses so that members will not be required to use their salary increase for essential official business. [ applause ] i would have submitted the commission's recommendations except the advice that i received from the leadership, and you usually are consulted about matters that affect the congress, was that the congress would not accept the $50,000 recommendation and if i expected my recommendation to be seriously considered i should
make substantial reductions. that's the only reason i didn't go along with the capitol report. in 1967, i recommended the congress a fair and impartial random selecting system for the draft. i submitted again tonight for your most respectful consideration. [ applause ] and i know that all of us recognize that most of the things we do to meet all of these commitments i talked about will cost money. and if we maintain the strong rate of growth that we've had in this country for the past eight years, i think we shall generate the resources that we need to meet these commitments. we have already been able to increase our support for major social programs, although we've heard a lot about not being able to do anything on the home front because of vietnam.
but we have been able in the last five years to increase our commitments to such things as health and education from $30 billion in 1964 to $68 billion in the coming fiscal year. that's more than double, and that's more than it's ever been increased in the 188 years of this republic, notwithstanding vietnam. [ applause ] we must continue to budget our resources and budget them responsibly in a way that will preserve our prosperity and will strengthen our dollar. greater revenues and the reduced federal spending required by congress last year have changed the budgetary picture
dramatically since last january when we made our estimates. at that time, you will remember that we estimated we would have a deficit of $8 billion. well, i'm glad to report to you tonight that the fiscal year ending june 30th, 1969, this june, we are going to have not a deficit, but we're going to have a $2400 million surplus. [ applause ] you will receive the budget tomorrow. but the budget for the next fiscal year that begins next july the 1st that you will want to examine very carefully in days ahead, it will provide a
$3,400,000 surplus. -- $34 million surplus. this includes an extension of the is your tax that congress enacted last year. i have communicated with the president-elect nixon in connection with this policy, and continuing the is your stacks for the time being. i want to tell you that both of us want to see it removed just as season as circumstances will permit. but the president-elect has told me that he has concluded that until his administration and this congress can examine the appropriation bills and each item in the budget and can ascertain that the facts justify
permitting the is yosuhr tax to expire or reduce he, mr. nixon, will support my recommendation that the sur tax be continued. americans, i believe, are united in the hope that the paris talks will bring an early peace to vietnam. and if our hopes on early settlement of the war are realized, then our military expenditures can be reduced and very substantial savings can be made to be used for other desirable purposes as the congress may determine. in any event, i think it's imperative that we do all we responsibly can to resist inflation while maintaining our prosperity.
i think all americans know that our prosperity is broad, and it's deep, that it's brought record profits, the highest in our history, record wages, our gross national products that grown more in the last five years than any other period in our nation's history. our wages have been the highest. our profits have been the best. and this prosperity has enabled millions to escape the poverty that they would have otherwise had to -- the last few years. and i think also you will be very glad to hear that the secretary of treasury informs me tonight that in 1968, in our balance of payments, we have achieved a surplus. it appears that we have in fact done better this year than we've done in any year in this regard since the year 1957.
[ applause ] the quest for durable peace as i think absolved every administration since the end of world war ii. it has required us to seek a limitation of arm races not only among the super powers but among the smaller nations as well. we have joined in the test ban treaty of 1963. the outer space treaty of 1967. the treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons in 1968. and this latter agreement, the non-proliferation treaty is now pending in the senate. and it's been pend willing since last july. in my opinion, delay in ratifying it is not going to be helpful to the cause of peace. america took the lead in negotiating this treaty.
and america should now take steps to have it approved at the earliest possible date. [ applause ] and until a way can be found to scale down the level of arms among the super powers, mankind cannot view the future without fear and great apprehension. so i believe that we should resume the talks with the soviet union about limiting offensive and defensive missile systems. and i think they would have already been resumed except for check low slovakia and our election this year. it was more than 20 years ago that we embarked on a program of trying to aid the developing nations. we knew then that we could not
live in good conscious as a rich enclave on an earth that was seething in misery. and during these years, there have been great advances made under our program, particularly against want and hunger. and although we are disappoin d ed at the appropriations last year, we thought we were woefully inadequate. this year i'm asking for adequate funds for economic assistance in the hope that we can further peace throughout the world. i think we must continue to support efforts in regional cooperation. among those efforts, that of western europe has a very special place in america's concern. the only course that's going to permit europe to play the great role, the world role that its resources permit, is to go forward to unity. i think america remains ready to
work with the united europe. work as a partner on the basis of equality. for our future, the quest for peace i believe requires that we maintain the lib ral trade policies that have helped us become the leading nation in world trade, that we strengthen the international monetary system as an instrument of world prosperity, and that we seek areas of agreement with the soviet union where the interests of both nations and the interest of world peace are properly served. the strained relationship between us and the world's leading communist power has not ended, especially in the light of the brutal invasion of check slovakia. but total aaronism is no less odious to us because we are able to reach some accommodation that reduces the danger of world catastrophe. what we do, we do in the interest of peace in the world.
and we earnestly hope that time will bring a russia that is less afraid of adversity and individual freedom, the quest for peace tonight continues in vietnam, and in the paris talks. i regret more than any of you know that it has not been possible to restore peace to south vietnam. the prospects, i think, for peace, are better today than at any time since north vietnam began its invasion into its regular forces more than four years ago. [ applause ] and the free nations of asia know what they were not sure of at that time, that america cares about their freedom.
and it also cares about america's own vital interest in asia and throughout the pacific. the north vietnamese know that they cannot achieve their aggressive purposes by force. there may be hard fighting before a settlement is reached, but i can assure you it will yield no victory to the communist cause. i cannot speak to you tonight about vietnam without paying a very personal tribute to the men who have been carried the battle out there for all of us. [ applause ]
and i have been honored to be their commander in chief. [ applause ] the nation owes them its unextending support while the battle continueses and its enduring gratitude when their service is done. [ applause ] finally, the quest for stable peace in the middle east goes on in many capitals tonight. america fully supports the unanimous resolution of the u.n. security council, which points the way. there must be a settlement to
the armed hostility that exists in that region of the world today. it is a threat not only to israel and to all the arab states, but it's a threat to every one of us and to the entire world as well. and now, my friends in congress, i want to conclude with a few very personal words to you. i rejected and rejected and then finally accepted the congressional leadership's invitation to come here to speak this farewell to you in person tonight. i did that for two reasons. one was philosophical. i wanted to give you my judgment as i saw it on some of the issues before our nation as i view them before i leave. the other was just pure
for 38 years since i worked on that gallery as a door keeper in the house of representatives, i have -- [ applause ] -- i have known these halls, and i have known most of the men pretty well who walked them. i know the questions that you face. i know the conflicts that you endure. i know the ideals that you seek to serve. i left here first to become vice president. and then to become in a moment of tragedy, the president of the united states. my term of office has been marked by a series of challenges, both at home and throughout the world. in meeting some of these challenges, the nation has found
a new confidence . in meeting others, it knew turbulence and doubt and fear and hate. and throughout this time, i have been sustained by my faith in representative democracy, a faith that i had learned here in this capitol building as an employee, and as a congressman, and as a senator. i believe deeply in the ultimate purposes of this nation described by the constitution, tempered by history, embodied in progressive laws, and given life by men and women that have been
elected to serve their fellow citizens. now, for five most demanding years in the white house, i have been strengthened by the counsel and the cooperation of two great former presidents, harry s. truman, and dwight david eisenhower. [ applause ] i have been guided by the memory of my ples skpant cloasant and association with the beloved john f. kennedy. and with our greatest modern legislator, speaker sam rayburn.
no president should ask for more, although i did upon occasion. [ laughter ] but few presidents have ever been blessed with so much. president-elect nixon, in the days ahead, is going to need your understand iing, just as i did. and he's entitled to have it. [ applause ] i hope every member will remember that the burdens he will bear as our president will be born fe for all of us.
each of us should try not to increase these burdens for the sake of narrow personal or partisan advantage. and now it's time to leave. i hope it may be said a hundred years from now that by working together we help to make our country more just. more just for all of its people, as well as to ensure and guarantee the blessings of liberty for all of our posterity. that's what i hope.